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Is Government Behind Visa Porn Crackdown?

Forbes says maybe:

    Is Visa sinisterly putting the squeeze on the Internet porn business at the behest of the U.S. government? That’s just one conspiracy theory going around the industry following new rules Visa U.S.A. imposed late last year requiring adult content Web sites to pay a $750 fee and register intimate financial details about their operations. Little noticed outside the freewheeling online sex trade, the rules have created a firestorm among porn peddlers who complain that Visa is taking a pound of flesh out of their business.

    The controversy once again casts an unwelcome light on the symbiotic relationship between porn operators and the legitimate companies that allow them to thrive by quietly processing their credit-card payments and providing server hosting. One of the biggest victims of Visa’s actions is the otherwise conservative InterCept. The financial services firm, which had 2002 sales of $227 million, is based in the bucolic Atlanta suburb of Norcross, where it’s still against the law to serve liquor by the drink. In a move that must have seemed smart at the time, InterCept last year paid $104 million for something called Internet Billing Co., or iBill, which acts as a third-party credit-card processor for Internet businesses that are too small or shaky to deal with credit-card banks directly. IBill makes its money by taking a 15% cut of every transaction.

    …. Visa also didn’t return calls for comment, but porn industry attorneys Lawrence Walters of Weston, Garrou & DeWitt and Gregory Piccionelli of Brull, Piccionelli, Sarno, Braun & Vradenburgh were happy to spin about what they see as a possible setup for the time when the government decides to wage war on Internet porn.

    “The requirement of creating more and more records and information could lead one to conclude that they either have been asked by the government to make sure these processors are generating this information, or a more objective concern that now that the information is out there, the government can get it,” says Walters. “The threat of obscenity prosecutions makes this a real concern.”

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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